Wushu coach Kuldeep Handoo becomes first Kashmiri to win Dronacharya Award

An inspector in J&K Police, Kuldeep Handoo has previously been honoured with the Sher-i-Kashmir and Parshuram Award as well.

By Subhayan Dutta ·

National wushu team coach Kuldeep Handoo is the first person from India’s Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir to receive the prestigious Dronacharya Award. It is conferred as a recognition of outstanding sports coaching

Under Kuldeep Handoo’s tutelage, Indian wushu athletes have won two gold medals at the world championships and one at the World Cup.

He has also guided Indian athletes to 28 silver medals and 57 bronze medals in various championships over the years.

India won four bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta and Handoo is determined to better the record in the upcoming editions.

“This is not the end,” Handoo told the Hindustan Times. “I will aim to win a gold medal in the upcoming 2022 Asian Games.”

Before heading to the 2022 Asian Games, to be held in Hangzhou, China, the Indian wushu contingent will compete at the world championships in the United States and Australia next year.

Indian wushu coach Kuldeep Handoo (c) has been conferred the Dronacharya Award. Photo: Kuldeep Hooda/Twitter

Moment of pride

Handoo is also the recipient of the Jammu and Kashmir Police medal award, for meritorious service, and the Parshuram Award, an honour for sports in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

He will now be conferred the Dronacharya Award by President Ram Nath Kovind in a virtual ceremony, owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday.

“Undoubtedly, it is a moment of pride for me, my family, my fraternity and for the whole of Jammu and Kashmir,” Kuldeep Handoo said.

“Years of struggle and hard work has eventually paid off. I am the first coach from Jammu and Kashmir, who has been conferred this prestigious honour,” he pointed out.

Handoo, also an inspector in Jammu and Kashmir Police, is a former wushu athlete who won a gold medal in the sixth national wushu championship at Mizoram in 1995.

In his career spanning over 25 years, Kuldeep Handoo has won 11 gold medals at the national level and six at the international stage.